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Posted August 29, 2013

APS Community Stadium Opens on West Side

Officials cut ribbon; Football teams delight fans

This evening the Albuquerque Public Schools opened its first high school football stadium in more than 45 years and welcomed fans to start of the 2013 high school football season with the sixth annual East vs. West Kick-off clash featuring teams from Volcano Vista and Manzano high schools.

“As you will see here tonight, this new stadium allows athletes from not only the West Side, but from all around the district to showcase their abilities in a state-of-the-art facility,” APS Superintendent Winston Brooks told those gathered for a ribbon-cutting event prior to the game.

The 7,000-seat, $38 million facility, which also includes a 2,600-seat track and field area and parking for more than 1,400 vehicles, has been in the planning stages since 2006, but the site was not acquired until 2011.

Brooks noted that this evening’s game is the first of seven football games scheduled at the facility that will involve 12 of the district’s 13 comprehensive high schools.

“The Community Stadium is especially important for the district’s West Side schools—Volcano Vista, West Mesa and Atrisco Heritage—because it allows those students and their families a place to call their own, a ‘home field’ if you will,” Brooks said.

He added that a lot of planning went into the facility before construction began about a year and half ago.

“Everything from its bowl shape to keep spectators close to the action on the field and to minimize noise and lighting impact on the surrounding neighborhoods, to its canopies that not only provide shade, but also include photovoltaic panels to provide about 20 percent of the electricity used by the facility, was carefully designed and planned,” Brooks said.

APS Board of Education President Martin Esquivel said the facility was important not only for athletes and their families, but also for schools and learning. “A lot of memories will be made in this place by athletic teams, by bands who join the festivities for half-time shows, and by families of spectators who come out to enjoy a game,” Esquivel said.

APS Chief Operations Officer Brad Winter said the new stadium will go a long way to help ease the logistical challenges of scheduling 13 high school athletic programs on just two fields. “And, because it is a community stadium it will be used for events like YAFL finals and other community events,” Winter said.

SMPC was the architect for the community stadium and Shumate Construction was the primary contractor.

The district’s other two football venues, Wilson, located near Manzano High School, was opened more than 45 years ago, and Milne, located near UNM, was built as part of the New Deal in the 1930s.

Future plans for the APS Community Stadium site include additional athletic fields and land has been acquired across the street for school construction.